The first six books of Euclid's Elements by Oliver Byrne


Oliver Byrne (c. 1810-c. 1880) was an Irish author and civil engineer that wrote a considerable number of books on subjects including mathematics, geometry, and engineering. Among them, the most famous and really innovative is a very particular version of the first six books of Euclid's Elements that used coloured graphic explanations of each geometric principle.
Published in 1847 by William Pickering, the book has an extraordinary graphic and chromatic similarity with the Bauhaus design formatting. Indeed, in the whole book are used the primary colors red, yellow and blue (beside black of course). Flipping through its pages the reader hardly think that “The first six books of Euclid's Elements” by Byrne was written more than 70 years before the Bauhaus school opening.

The main aim of the book is to spread science, and the strategy is clearly graphical. In the introduction, the author say “The arts and science have become so extensive, that to facilitate their acquirement is of as much importance as to extend their boundaries. Illustration, if it does not shorten the time of study, will at least make it more agreeable”.

The interest of this book is not really the contents (even if the Euclid's Elements is one of the most important text about mathematics and geometry second only to the Bible in the number of editions and published since the first printing in 1482), but the real author’s afford in order to find the best way to show and to explain such complex and abstract concepts. 

Here the First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid on Scribd. Enjoy your reading.

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